Kosovo, the landlocked country in the Balkans which used to be a part of Yugoslavia, is in a bit of a storm for the moment. First of all, because of a dispute with Turkey over alleged Gülen (Turkish President Erdogan’s political opponent currently staying in the USA) supporters which Turkey claims it harboured, and secondly because of the recently opened border toll booths where it’s highway is linked with Albania, it’s western neighbour.
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Kosovars, which have no sea but are richer than Albanians because of their ascension to the EU which is in its final stages, use the highway to go to the seaside in the summer. Albanians use it to get into Kosovo and from there to all of the Balkan countries to get their good sold.
As from Sunday, a border crossing on the highway between Kosovo and Albania on that point would cost $3 for a motorbike, $7 for a car and $26 for a truck. In a country where the average salary is about $400, that is an excessive price to pay. Therefore, already earlier this week a convoy of truck drivers had stopped in the Albanian town of Kukes displaying banners that said: “This road should unite Albanians, not divide them.”
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Albanians?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Albanians</a> 👐 united: NO BORDER & NO TOLL/PAY 💰 on our National Highway 🚘 🇦🇱 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Albania?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Albania</a> and 🇽🇰 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Kosovo?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Kosovo</a> promised our people there would be 'zero barriers'! Both governments must adhere to that promise! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/JemiNj%C3%AB?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#JemiNjë</a> and we should travel FREELY and FOR FREE! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RrugaEKombit?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RrugaEKombit</a> 🤝 <a href="https://t.co/gaqDraBqOc">pic.twitter.com/gaqDraBqOc</a></p>— PN 🇦🇱 (@NationalALB) <a href="https://twitter.com/NationalALB/status/980354356473024512?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 1, 2018</a></blockquote>
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Still the Albanian government did not budge and went ahead with its planned move to open the toll booths as from today.
However, when dealing with the only adult European population that has been part of a war in 1990s, you may want to reconsider taking action without allowing any negotiation. One day before the toll booths were supposed to open, a large group of Albanian and Kosovar protesters showed up, throwing stones at the gathered riot police, injuring 14 of them and burning down the toll booths.
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The Albanian Interior Minister Fatmir Xhafaj said afterwards: "All those who incited these barbarian acts against police officers and public and private property will be brought to justice."